FEE WAIVER: Chris Gulaptis at Grafton TAFE after announcing an increase in fee-free courses.
FEE WAIVER: Chris Gulaptis at Grafton TAFE after announcing an increase in fee-free courses. Tim Jarrett

100,000 fee-free TAFE places set to be up for grabs

IN THE latest round of funding announcements in the lead-up to the March state election, the government has pledged to create 100,000 fee-free TAFE places for prospective students.

Appearing at Grafton TAFE yesterday the Nationals' Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, talked up the proposal, which would be targeted at students wanting to enrol in vocational courses.

"Seventy thousand places will be for traineeships and 30,000 will be for mature-age students who want to change their career path," he said.

"We need to upskill our workforce to complete the infrastructure projects that we are undertaking around regional NSW."

Most fee waivers would be made available only to those wanting to undertake certain traineeships and Mr Gulaptis ruled out extending fee waivers to a wider range of courses.

"At the end of the day we want people to get a real job," he said. "It's all well and good to go to TAFE and do a hobby course, but you should pay for that.

"We want people to become enrolled nurses, construction workers, electricians and plumbers ... that's what we need."

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed youth unemployment in the Coffs/Clarence region at 23 per cent, but Mr Gulaptis said that did not reflect the situation in the Clarence Valley.

"I don't understand why we have a higher youth unemployment rate, because at the moment we are investing heavily in infrastructure right on our doorstep," he said.

"So there are jobs out there if young people want to upskill and take those jobs.

"I think it's an aberration and I think that we have to have a look at those statistics because I don't think they accurately reflect what's happening in the workplaces on the ground."

Who will you vote for in the seat of Clarence at the 2019 NSW Election?

This poll ended on 22 March 2019.

Current Results

STEVE CANSDELL - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

31%

GREG CLANCY - Greens

4%

TRENT GILBERT - Labor

21%

CHRIS GULAPTIS - Nationals

29%

THOM KOTIS - Sustainable Australia

0%

DEBRAH NOVAK - Independent

12%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.